Today, we have Robin Hall returning with her YA Magical Realism novel, LOVESENSE. Robin was here for First Impressions a few months back. You can see her original first page here. She has now revised the page and is looking for feedback on the improved version.
I often regret my part-time job as the ice cream/photo counter girl at Alfred’s Drug Store. But in a town as small as Sparrow, a seventeen-year-old doesn’t have a lot of options.
No more reading relationships at work, I remind myself as I tap my cross trainers in time with the photo processor’s whir, whir, flip. It spews three hundred prints of the same two smiling faces, but I'm not looking. Never again, especially after last week’s debacle with Mom’s friend Barb. Trust me, being the first to know that your mom’s best friend’s husband is leaving her for their pool boy sucks the big one.
Craning my neck I see the “Alfred’s has the Answer” digital clock: forty-seven minutes to bride time. The whir is louder than our cheesy elevator music, and my nose, even though I’m telling it no, is taking in bigger and bigger breaths. I pop another Altoid into my already crammed mouth. I don’t want to know! Think about Barb. But I’m like a crack addict needing my next hit. And there isn’t an addiction recovery program to save me.
I pull a photo off the top of the stack. Even with the wonderful aroma of fresh ink, it doesn’t begin to cover the stench of this couple. It’s more than that rotten-egg sulfur smell I made in chem lab yesterday. It’s also, rotting meat, and moldy, squishy potatoes. A good dinner gone wrong.
As I squint at the picture, the formally clad couple separates, not mere millimeters like I usually see. No, they’re on opposite sides of the photo. This breakup is going to be ugly. I cross my eyes, looking for the timeline, and there it is on her diamond: six months. That scum guy is already holding someone else’s hand. I scratch at his face with my nonexistent nail, but it doesn’t even nick the photo. Blah. No wonder I can’t stand love; every time I’m supposed to see it I get numbers, distance, and raunch.
I think this first page is much improved over the original version in that it focuses on the narrator’s lovesense rather than the particulars of the drug store, as in the first version. We get to see firsthand what her special talent does for her, how it works, and what impact it had on her in the past. I like this!
There are a few points that could still use tweaking. I would take out the phrase Never again in the second paragraph, because it only takes another two paragraphs for her to give in to temptation.
Secondly, I don’t know what she means when she says: forty-seven minutes to bride time. Is she going to a wedding? This sentence doesn’t seem connected to the paragraph it’s in.
And finally, I want some identifying information about the couple in the photograph – names, if she knows them. Is it an engagement photo or a wedding photo? I believe in the original version, she mentioned names and said it was an engagement photo. But here, I can’t tell. I think it will help us visualize the photograph if she tells us more about who’s in it.